Harmony’s Story:
Should students have teachers who can facilitate sensitive discussions about race?

Harmony attends an almost all-black high school. When students were using the N-word in class, it upset her and affected the educational environment.


She expected her well-meaning teacher to handle the situation and facilitate a discussion. Instead, her teacher did not know how to respond and indeed was speechless.

  • Have you ever observed, or heard about a situation in which students used the N-word or other racist slurs and, if so, how did you respond?
  • What are some ways that students can respond to racist remarks in school?
  • Do students have a right to say whatever they wish in school? Are there any limits on what they can say?
  • What should teachers or administrators do when racism arises in school?
  • Do students have a right to have teachers who are trained to facilitate sensitive discussions about race?
Michigan Civil Rights Commission Resolution

“Schools that lack the resources, including qualified and experienced staff and educators, or otherwise fail to address race-sensitive issues through education and dialogue, ultimately undermine students’ development and their ability to recognize, understand, avoid, and respond to stereotypes, bigotry, racism, sexim and gender, religious, and other inequalities.”


Washington Post Feature: The n-word